Friday, June 28, 2013

Oh to be a UI student again, helping the Pads

Oh, to be a student at the University of Iowa once again...

A unique course at the University of Iowa gave students interested in recreation and sport business the chance to gain some hands-on experience.. Dan Matheson, a lecturer at Iowa's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, took a group of UI students from the Sport Business Practicum to San Diego, to work with the  Padres and the University of San Diego Athletics Department for two weeks in June.

Last summer, 12 UI students, along with 10 Ohio students and five DePaul students, stayed on the USD campus. Their first week was spent doing background work to become familiar with the Padres and USD Athletics Department and the organizations' markets.

After the week of orientation, the students were presented with their first challenge — in two days, and with a budget of $2,500, teams had to come up with proposals to increase student attendance at one USD men’s basketball home game in early February.

The remainder of the course was focused on a Padres challenge. Vice President of Ticket Services Jared Dillon sought to increase single game ticket sales, including ways to encourage fans to make single game ticket purchases further in advance to increase the certainty of revenue. The students also met with a larger group of Padres executives, including the vice president for business administration, director of brand management, and director of market research.

The overall winning team was selected as well as two individual proposals from all of the teams. They then had to combine those ideas into one cohesive proposal presentation that was then delivered the next morning to a larger group of Padres executives.

Has it helped the Pads in ticket sales? Hard to say, especially with the Friars being on the roll they are right now. But, darn, wouldn't it have been great to have taken part in such a class?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Minor League Monday - Bobby Bonds, Jr.

While the Bonds name carries a wealth of experience in the baseball world, in reality, the Padres could actually brag about a Bonds of their own – OF Bobby Bonds, Jr., son of former San Francisco Giant Bobby Bonds and the younger brother of Barry and Ricky Bonds – who played within the Friars’ farm system from 1992 – 1994.
Bobby Jr., who bypassed high school baseball, got into martial arts because of his hero, Bruce Lee. eventually earning his black belt. It wasn’t until 1991, however, when he visited Pittsburgh’s Brandenton spring training camp with his brother Barry, that he realized how much he actually missed baseball.

He played two years at Redwood City, Calif.’s Canada College, where he hit .270 with seven home runs.  The Padres took the 22-year old in the 18th round of the 1992 amateur draft.
He began his minor league career with the Arizona League Padres (hitting .317) and then the Spokane Indians., (.179, but stealing 13 of 15 bases). In 1993, Bonds Jr. moved up to the Waterloo Diamonds, where he hit .248 and continued to prove fleet of foot, stealing 30 bases in 102 games.

As 1994 dawned, Bonds quickly moved from Midwest League Springfield (.276, 10-13 SB), to High-A Rancho Cucamonga (.175, 5-5 SB, and then jumped to AAA Las Vegas. In his four games a Star, he was 0-4 at the plate, with a strikeout.
That was his last opportunity as a Padre, though, as the San Francisco Giants signed Bonds Dec. 8, 1992, as a free agent. He never made it to the majors. In 2002, his final year of baseball, he hit just .169 with the Newark Bears.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You can learn a lot from Padre Media Guides

Of course, being a die-hard Friars fan, I collect everything and anything having to do with the San Diego Padres. Besides receiving a pair of printing plates in yesterday’s mail, I also received another package, bigger than the first one, that I was just as excited about.
One of the many things I collect are Padres Media Guides. In existence since the late ‘60s, media guides were originally created to provide sports journalists information relating to the players, history, and statistical records for that specific team, which proved useful in broadcasting and writing their stories.

Media guides have since exploded in today’s information age. What were once small, 4.5” x 11” pamphlets have now grown to 400+ page tomes.  Some teams, such as the Detroit Tigers, even have some of their guides archived on their team web site.
In yeseterday’s package were media guides for 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1977. While I already have the ’76 and ’77 guides, as a package deal, I couldn’t pass this one up. Even better, I still have the Padres’ inaugural 1969 guide coming my way, as well as the 2012 issue.
I love the guides because they’re a definitive piece of Padres history. Where else can you find a complete Padres player and staff roster for each year, including a complete player biography? You also get player development reports for each Friar minor leaguer, information on each opponent for that season, a review of the previous year, history and records, and info on both Padres management and media crews.

Padres greats, such as Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Randy Jones and Jake Peavy have graced the covers, as have images of Jack Murphy, Petco Park, boats, battleships and Padres memorabilia.
It’s a great little piece of history, perfect for any and all Padres research!

Since their inception in 1969, the Padres have released 45 media guides. Thanks to this package, and the other two inbound guides, I now need only seven more media guides to complete the set.
If you know willing to part with a 1973, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1999, 2003, or 2013 guide, just let me know. I have a 1970, 1976, 1977 and 1985 guide for trade.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My first Padres printing plates

After a tough day at work today, I came home to find a couple of great packages from recent E-Bay purchases. Once I opened them, I  was equally pumped about the contents of both packages. As for the other package, I'll go into detail about that tomorrow.

As a result of the first package, I now own two, San Diego Padres 1/1 Magenta Printing Plates. I got both of them from the same seller, who had a "or best offer" caveat with the plates. After some give and take, he finally accepted an offer on both the cards. I apologize if the scans aren't the best...

The first one is the magenta printing plate for the 2004 Topps Traded and Rookies Terrence Long #T16. After starting with the Mets, and then the A's, Long, a left-handed OF, was traded to San Diego, along with Ramon Hernandez on Nov. 26, 2003 for Mark Kotsay. That's how we ended up in the Topps Traded set. He wasn't in a Padres uni for long, however, as he was traded to Kansas City less than a year later, along with Dennis Tankersley and cash, for Ryan Bukvich and Darrell May. Long, who spent most of the season backing up Ryan Klesko in left and Jay Payton in center, hit .295 with three homers and 28 RBIs in 136 games.

The other plate belongs to Dustin Moseley and his 2012 Topps Mini #448. Even though he didn't do much for the Pads, I like the Moseley card, since it was from last year's offerings. After being non-tendered by the Yankees, he signed a one-year contract to pitch in the friendly environs of Petco Park. He disclocated his left shoulder after getting a base hit in July, ending his season with a 3-10 record and 3.30 ERA (a career best) in 120 innings. Making matters worse, he made only one start in 2012, before clearing outright waivers.

While I already own one printing plate (a 2009 Topps Chrome Cyan Printing Plate Jon Garland (Angels) #57), which I'm looking to trade for a Padres plate, I now own my first Padres 1/1 plates. And to top it all off, there's a couple more plates I have my eye on.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Minor League Monday - Roger Smithberg

Roger Smithberg was a second round Padres pick in the 1987 MLB Amateur Draft from Bradley University. A 6-foot-3 right-hander, he began his Padres career with the Class A, California League Riverside Red Wave, going 9-2 with a 3.31 ERA.
Unfortunately, that would be his best season within the Friars farm system. The Pads expected the best in 1990  until a strained elbow ligament limited his workload. However, after three years of bouncing up-and-down between Class A+ and AAA  he compiled a 34-49 record. In April 1992, the Padres released him.

The Oakland A’s picked him up as a free agent two months later. He made his MLB debut with them in September 1993, relieving starter Mike Mohler against the World-Series champion Toronto Blue Jays.  Going three innings, he gave up only two hits, with no strikeouts or walks.
He pitched two more games for Oakland in 1994, giving up four earned runs in 2.1 innings. He ended his professional career later that year with AAA Tacoma.

Today, Smithberg is a Senior Vice President for David A. Noyes and Company, a Chicago-based investment company.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A draft of Padres duplicates

You have to love our fellow sports card bloggers. Awhile back, Marcus Pond, author of "All the Way to the Backstop," proposed an interesting offer for us Padres card bloggers.

“As you might imagine, in my almost-year of having a card blog,” he wrote, “I've been able to accumulate quite an amount of great Padre cards. I've even come across some that are awesome but that I don't really want, or others that are great but I have doubles of. ..Well, I've got a semi-decent stash of Padres that I'm looking to send to all three of you, but I don't know what you want.”
His proposal – Listing 30-some of his extra cards and then having us rank them in order of our priorities. He then held a snake-draft to disseminate the cards.

 What I love about him, was his last part – “This one is completely free, because what’s a few cards among friends?”
What a guy. It’s been awhile since this has gone down (that’s how behind I am on things), but what a great idea (he says he borrowed the original concept from Jaybarkerfan).

Some of the cards, I already had, so I didn’t list them. Some of the cards, I really could use for my collection. However, what’s cool about a draft, as evidenced by the many fantasy sports drafts I’ve participated in, is you hope for the best and get what you get.
Needless to say, I was very happy with the cards Marcus sent. 

I was able to get my first five picks.
The Chris Young jersey was a no-brainer. Jersey cards are always fun (although autos are much better), and since I didn’t have any GU for Young, that was my first selection. The 2013 Topps Emerald Tom Layne was another nice selection. At the time I didn’t have any of the Padres emerald cards, so it was another nice option, As for the 1978 Topps Mike Champion, A) I didn’t have any of his cards; and B) I’m still in the process of accumulating some of the Padres’ earlier cards, so I was very happy with this pick.
Other cards I enjoyed receiving were the 1984 Topps Bruce Bochy – Isn’t it way cool to have a former player come back to the team as a coach? Bochy not only came back to skipper the Padres, he also earned the National League Manager of the Year award in 1996 and led the Friars to the 1998 World Series. I’ve always loved Trevor Hoffman and the playing of “Hells Bells,” in the ninth inning. You have to love the concentration on the face of Archi Cianfrocco on his 1993 SP card. Despite the sun, you can just feel the intensity as he tracks down the ball.
Hats off to Marcus for a wonderful draft. As soon as I get the time, I want to try and hold one of my own. I have plenty of Padres duplicates, and “what’s a few cards among friends?”

Monday, June 10, 2013

Minor League Monday

Since finding those boxes of minor league cards in my basement I've added a whole mess of junior Friars to my Padres collection. Along with the new additions, I decided to begin posting "Minor League Mondays" in honor of those players who were part of the Padres family, but yet never had a "cup of coffee" with the parent club at Jack Murphy or Petco.

The first player to grace this weekly feature, while a minor leaguer who never made it to San Diego, still played a large role in Padres history. You may even say his influence is still being felt within the Padres, even today.

Pitcher Kevin Towers was was the first Padres pick in the 1982 MLB June Draft-Secondary phase from Brigham Young University. He pitched eight seasons, compiling a 29-40 record, with a 4.64 ERA, before elbow injuries ended his career in 1989. A promising right-hander, he was a Texas League All-Star while pitching for AA Beaumont in 1984.

Recognizing his pitching abilities, the Padres named Towers as their A-level pitching coach at Spokane, before he moved up to the scouting ranks. In 1991, he served two years as a Pittsburgh Pirate scout, before returning to the Friars as their scouting director in 1993.

Towers was named the Padres' seventh general manager in 1995, succeeding Randy Smith (who moved on to the Detroit Tigers). As a Padres fan, you should know the rest of the story - the Padres posted a 1,107-1,160 record during this time, winning four division championships, the club's second National League championship, and a trip to the 1998 World Series, where they were swept by the New York Yankees. As for wheeling and dealing, he may be best known for trading 2007 Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for four pitchers - Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter. The deal reportedly saved the Friars some $56 million in payroll.

Towers' reign ended in October 2009. Despite being the longest-tenured GM in MLB (14 years), he was fired by then-new owner Jeff Moorad and replaced with Jed Hoyer. At the time, the Padres were 74-85, on the tails of a 99-loss season in 2008.

He is currently serving as the GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Minor League, minor consideration?

I'm on vacation this week, so tonight I started cleaning out the back basement as part of my "Honey-Do," list. I got about a quarter of the way through, when I found a box of minor league baseball cards I forgot I had. Inside were 1993 Classic/Best, 1994 Fleer Excel, 1992 and 1994 Upper Deck Minors and 1989 Star cards, just to name a few.

Whenever I get new Padres cards, the first thing I do is inventory them, by player, so I know exactly which cards I have of each player. Each year, I go to the San Diego Padres official website and download the current list of every player who's ever played for the Friars.

And that, my friends, is where my dilemna lies...

For example, here's three Padres players who moved up through the Friars' minor league system, eventually earning a spot on the major league roster. The Derrek Lee card is from the 1994 Classic/Best Gold. Lee, a number one pick in 1993 for the Padres, only played one year for San Diego (1997), before being traded to Florida for Kevin Brown. Darrell Shipman, from the 1991 Classic/Best set, was another Padre one-year wonder, wearing a Padres jersey during the 1993 season. Sherman played in 37 games in April and May during that season, and never appeared in another MLB game. He played for the Rockies and Marlins AAA affiliates for the next two years, until 1996, when he finished out his career playing in the Mexican leagues.

Tim Worrell, meanwhile, proved to be the "Mr. Longevity" of this trio, playing from 1993-1997 in San Diego as a reliever, This card is from the 1992 Upper Deck Minors set.

After further digging through this minor league box, I came across these three players.

While all three played in the San Diego farm system, none of them ever advanced to play at Jack Murphy. 1B John Kuehl made it as far as the High Desert Mavericks (Class A+, California League), and played for Oakland's farm teams. A three-time minor league all-star before injuries abbreviated his baseball career, he went on the be a regional scout and minor league manager for the A's. Steve Peters came to San Diego, along with Alex Cole, from St. Louis in return for Omar Olivares. Assigned to Las Vegas, he would find himself in the Ranger minor league system a year later. Bill Meury, a 20th round Padres pick in the 1990 MLB June Amateur Draft, got as far as AA Wichita, before leaving baseball.

So back to that dilemna - while the latter group never had the opportunity to don a Padres major league uniform, do I include them in my sacred roster of Padres sports cards? Yes they did play for, and/or were drafted by the Padres, but since they never made the MLB roster, should their cards be part of my Padres card collection.

I'm curious. What's your opinion?